Category Archives: Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Tim’s brother, Sam, leaves Yale and his Tory village behind to join the Rebel army at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. His father refuses to take sides and pays for that choice. Eventually, Sam is made an example of when two other soldiers lie about him.

My Brother Sam is Dead is a rather depressing book. It does well examining Tim’s own feelings on whether he’s a Tory or a Patriot and how events in his life push him one way or the other. Sam’s death is obvious from the start, but the reason is pretty ridiculous. I just didn’t enjoy the book much at all. I don’t really recommend reading it.

3 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 99
Pages Read in 2018: 22,890
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

The Great Little Madison by Jean Fritz

James Madison was the fourth president of the United States and one of the founding fathers. The Great Little Madison is the story of his life from his frail beginning through The Federalist Papers and the presidency and retirement. The book is well written with lots of information while also keeping the reader captivated. As it is aimed at kids, I am sure there is much that is skipped or glossed over, but for an introduction to Madison, it is excellent and I highly recommend it.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 98
Pages Read in 2018: 22,656
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Biography, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Toliver’s Secret by Esther Wood Brady

With the Revolutionary War in full swing, 10-year-old Ellen Toliver must smuggle a secret message to General George Washington.

Toliver’s Secret is fast-paced historical fiction aimed at middle grade age kids. It has a good amount of tension and does a great job of expressing the feelings of the patriots being occupied by the redcoats. I highly recommend it to kids studying the Revolutionary War.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 97
Pages Read in 2018: 22,496
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Adrian, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

After accidentally burning his hand, Johnny Tremain can no longer become the silversmith he’s always dreamed of being. When he finally settles on a place to work, he finds himself just inside the bubble of those planning rebellion in pre-Revolutionary Boston.

I first read Johnny Tremain when I was about twelve. I loved it then and I still love it today. The character development of Johnny is excellent. While he changes quite a bit over the course of the book, he doesn’t change so much as to be unbelievable. The descriptions of the goings on in Boston are exciting. I highly recommend reading it to anyone interested in or studying the time just prior to Lexington and Concord.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 93
Pages Read in 2018: 21,752
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Capturing Jasmina by Kimberly Rae

Ten-year-old Jasmina and her brother are sold into slavery by their father. Jasmina manages to escape only to be captured again by another human trafficker. When she runs away, she ends up on the street until she spots a group of women who don’t seem like they belong and Jasmina’s curiosity pushes her to follow them.

I read Capturing Jasmina very quickly because I could barely put it down (and it is pretty short). I was invested in the character of Jasmina and really cared about what happened to her. Because it is aimed at a younger audience, it treats sex trafficking and prostitution delicately and in a very age-appropriate way. I highly recommend this book to teens.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 90
Pages Read in 2018: 21,050
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Realistic Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Dinosaurs in the Attic by Douglas J. Preston

Dinosaurs in the Attic is split into two parts. The first part gives an overview of the history of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The second part is a collection of random stories about some of the museum’s artifacts. The writing style is excellent. I found it hard to put the book down which is quite unusual for me reading a nonfiction book. It made me want to go visit the museum one day (which I just may be able to arrange very soon during a long layover in NYC on my way to Ireland). I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the behind-the-scenes of museums.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 87
Pages Read in 2018: 20,541
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox

Jessie is kidnapped and put on a slave ship. His job is to play his fife to make the slaves dance to keep them healthy on the trip to Cuba.

The Slave Dancer shows what life on an illegal slaver in the mid-1800s was like both for the crew and the slaves. It’s well-written and hold your attention well. I highly recommend it to middle school age kids and up.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2018: 86
Pages Read in 2018: 20,269
Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks (more book reviews!)

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz